Changing minds, changing lives

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Contact: John Sasaki
Communications Director
510-214-2080
john.sasaki@ousd.org

African American Female Excellence Initiative moves to Superintendent’s Office to Bring the Needs of Girls and Young Women Into Sharper Focus

Oakland, CA – Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is committed to lifting up the voices and experiences of girls and young women in order to ensure that their safety, success, and aspirations are realized. Given the local and national data on the unique and compelling context of African American girls and young women, the District is especially focused on identifying their needs and providing support in order to better position them for success. In this era of the #metoo movement, with increased focus on understanding the experiences and needs of girls and young women, Nzingha Dugas, the Director of African American Female Excellence (AAFE) will be now be positioned within the District’s Office of the Superintendent to effectively and systematically champion their experiences and provide the support they need.

OUSD and AAFE will continue to advance systemic work in our schools and community, emphasizing gender equity and targeted supports - such as the innovative Black Girl Power Conference - to improve outcomes for African American girls and young women. In partnership with the Director of African American Female Excellence, the District will develop a districtwide plan to work on emerging issues faced by all girls and young women, including gender equity, access, campus culture and climate, sexual harassment, and Title IX collaborative work - issues that impact our entire society and must be addressed with great care and urgency.

Given the concerns about representation, equity, and equality in schools and communities, locally and nationally, this renewed effort underscores the critical need to address the compounding effects of intersecting oppressions that impact African American girls and other girls of color. It will also align our collaborative efforts to create parity of services and resources (curricular and extracurricular) across the District.

The AAFE Director will work with District leaders on Title IX, sexual harassment, and gender equity issues and needs, serving as a delegate at the intersection of schools, community, and key stakeholders. This role will take a deeper dive into the Administrative Regulations on the Sexual Harassment policy (BP 5145.7) approved by the Board in May of 2017, expanding and enhancing the current efforts to eliminate sexual harassment. This includes working with subject matter experts, leaders, and community members across the District to inform and support schools on effective ways to help students, staff and families understand and address harmful behaviors, thereby improving safety and campus climate and culture.

AAFE will continue to focus on education, awareness, and understanding regarding the experiences of girls and young women, in order to inform and inspire necessary policy research and implementation toward an improved climate and more consistently positive experiences.

AAFE will renew program and resource development to sustain the work beyond this academic year with the goal of growing this vital body of work across the District.

OUSD’s African American Female Excellence thanks The San Francisco Foundation, the Golden State Warriors Community Foundation and other donors and partners who have made it possible to launch and grow this vital work for Oakland’s girls and young women.

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About the Oakland Unified School District

In California’s most diverse city, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is dedicated to creating a learning environment where “Every Student Thrives!” More than half of our students speak a non-English language at home. And each of our 86 schools is staffed with talented individuals uniting around a common set of values: Students First, Equity, Excellence, Integrity, Cultural Responsiveness and Joy. We are committed to preparing all students for college, career and community success.

Precious Stroud